Eupora Eagles test will at 7-on-7 football tournament

The Eupora Eagles
Staff Writer

It’s a long way until the first real football game, but the Eupora Eagles tested their will against some of the best small schools in the state on Friday afternoon at Mississippi State.

MSU hosted a small-school 7-on-7 tournament with most of the teams ranging from private school to Class A-3A. the Eagles were there in the middle of it all and gave their best effort on a blistering hot afternoon at the Leo Seal Jr. Complex on campus in Starkville.

“I was very pleased,” Eupora head coach Stephen Edwards said. “We got a chance to get our younger quarterback, Cade Adkins, some work and I thought he threw the ball well overall. Zach Morris did a good job in the secondary and our defense ran to the ball real well. Jalen Potts, Daniel Brown and Tra McComb all made plays. I thought we were very competitive.”

The Eagles started the long day with pool play in the early morning hours for positioning in the tournament. They came into tournament play with a matchup against Bessemer Academy out of Alabama. Eupora blew through that opening game with a 23-2 victory capped by a couple of big plays from Daniel Brown from Adkins at quarterback.

Class 3A Charleston was next up in the winner’s bracket and proved to be a major challenge. It was a 29-9 victory for the Eagles’ opponent, but the double-elimination setup allowed another game to finish out the day.
Battling through cramps and some minor bangs and bruises, the Eagles fought on against Ethel. They had two interceptions early with the second coming from Potts, who was primed for a big game. He followed that with back-to-back touchdown receptions to take the 21-11 lead.

With time running down and Ethel with the football down 22-17, Potts came up in the clutch again as he caught a pass in the back of the end zone for the game-sealing interception to send Eupora home a winner at 25-19.

“I was just trying to get better with my teammates, work hard and improve on my game," Potts said. "It turned out to be a successful day. I know I have to make big plays and I try my best to lead my team in the right direction. I was in the right place at the right time to make big plays to help us win that game.”

Edwards couldn’t have been happier about his team’s performance, especially considering the horses that were out on Saturday. Top receiver Camron Culpepper and quarterback/linebacker Edwin Herard were camping at Southern Miss. Both will be in Starkville on Saturday taking part in individual camp, but Edwards liked the opportunities the players behind them were afforded.

The afternoon gave him a chance to see players like Potts continue to grow as an athlete. He’s one of those that Edwards said would be relied on heavily in the fall.

“We’re going to play him at wide out and he’ll be a safety type for us, too," Edwards said. "If he stays on that even keel and not get down on himself, he’s going to be really big for us. They’re going to have to put people in the box to stop us with Edwin, McComb and Perkins running the ball. The wide receivers are going to get one-on-one stuff so they can have big years for us.”

The Eagles continue their summer work Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the week. The season begins on August 17 when they travel to Water Valley to open their schedule.